Rebuild the Mailbox & Reindex Messages to Fix Common Problems in Mail App for Mac OS X
If you have missing messages, cannot find messages via search or the content of your emails is garbled, we recommend taking the following steps and rebuilding your mailbox. Firstly, you'll need to open Mac Mail by clicking on the Mail icon, in your dock. Click on the mailbox you wish to rebuild, from the left-hand sidebar.
If you cannot see the mailbox sidebar, choose 'View' from the main menu, then from the drop-down menu choose 'Show Mailbox List'. Then simply choose 'Mailbox' from the main menu, then from the drop-down menu choose 'Rebuild'.
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This will begin the process of rebuilding your mailbox. When you rebuild your mailbox, copies of your emails stored on your local machine are deleted and downloaded again from your mail server.
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Even though it seems that you are deleting a file, Mail stores its primary copy of your message data elsewhere. When you delete the damaged database, Mail uses this primary copy to create a new index database. However, please be careful if you are using macOS If you are using macOS Relaunch Mail.
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This step may take a few minutes, as Mail searches through all of your stored messages to build your new database file. IMAP and Exchange messages will need to be re-downloaded from the server. Other symptoms include the inability to delete messages, incorrect notifications of unread messages in the mailbox, garbled messages, slow performance of the Mail app and mailboxes that appear to be empty when you know they are not.
To rebuild the index of messages, select the mailbox you want to fix from the list on the left side of the Mail window, then go to the Mailbox menu and choose Rebuild. If you do not see the list of mailboxes on the side of the Mail window, go to the View menu and select Show Mailbox List.
It may take a few minutes for the Mail program to rebuild the selected mailbox, especially if the account uses the IMAP or Exchange systems.